MLS, Black Players for Change & adidas unveil initiatives to commemorate Juneteenth


MLS has announced a wide-ranging series of initiatives to celebrate Juneteenth in partnership with adidas and Black Players for Change (BPC), the league's independent organization of Black MLS players, coaches and staff working to bridge the racial equality gap in soccer and society.

The 2024 celebrations recognize Juneteenth and amplify the voices of the Black community within and beyond sports.

“Juneteenth is a day to honor the power and promise of the human spirit,” said Sola Winley, Executive Vice President, Chief Engagement and Inclusion Officer of Major League Soccer. “MLS is a community of players from 79 countries, who will join together to amplify in unison the enduring message of freedom and change. A heartfelt thank you to our friends at Black Players for Change, and our incredibly supportive partners at adidas for celebrating the beauty in all.”

I AM #19 tops

MLS is collaborating with BPC and adidas to introduce a special edition pre-match “I AM #19” shirt that acknowledges the significance of Juneteenth, celebrates all players as agents of change, and unites around the work yet to be done.

The pre-match shirt, designed by adidas licensed sports graphics manager Todd Stansbury, will be worn by players during pre-match warm-ups prior to MLS matches played between June 15-June 19.

"Generations" campaign

In addition to the “I AM” #19 tops, MLS, BPC and adidas are releasing a new “Generations” campaign, which kicks off with a photoshoot featuring FC Cincinnati and US men’s national team defender Miles Robinson. A short film will also be released in the coming days.

The “Generations” campaign relays the message that for generations, the game and the ball have universally represented courage, resilience, and a pathway to opportunity and freedom. The campaign will highlight the generational connection between first-team professionals and academy players, emphasizing unity, empowerment, and progress within the soccer community.

"It is so important to recognize the ongoing work that Black Players for Change has done and will continue to do for the African American community," said Robinson. “MLS, adidas and BPC have provided a platform to celebrate, honor, and educate the league and our fans about African American history with this year’s Juneteenth pre-match tops.

"It is key to use these efforts as stepping stones to a brighter, more just future for all,” added Robinson.

Support BPC

Fans are encouraged to join the celebration and show their support by wearing the special “I AM #19” pre-match shirt.

MLS will also feature educational content and storytelling around Juneteenth across its digital and social media platforms, ensuring the day is highlighted throughout the league.

The “I AM #19” pre-match tops can be purchased at MLSstore.com and stadium retail locations. A portion of the proceeds will support initiatives and organizations focused on racial equity and social justice.

"Juneteenth holds profound significance in the history and culture of our community, and the 2024 pre-match tops symbolize Black Players for Change's ongoing commitment to honor the past while inspiring future generations,” said Allen Hopkins Jr., Executive Director, Black Players for Change.

“Through this collaboration and partnership with Major League Soccer and adidas, the pre-match tops serve as a powerful reminder of our shared journey and the progress we continue to strive for within the sport and beyond. They embody the principles of equality and connectedness, emphasizing that when we stand together, we are stronger and more unified in our pursuit of advancement and equality."